Indulge for a moment and do a Google Maps search for ‘Little Underbank, Stockport’ using the default view. You’ll notice the yellow buildings, that’s us, all the businesses in Stockport. Now very gently, zoom out - Where did we go! It’s like two thirds of the town centre just vanished!!
Most of us who live in or visit Stockport town centre would consider the shopping area to be quite large, around Merseyway, the old town and over to the Peel Centre. There’s also lots of bars and restaurants about, new and old.
If Googles algorithm hasn’t noticed the town’s got bigger and better, how’s your average non-visitor going to know we’re here and want to visit, or maybe even decide they want to live here. There’s a bigger plan going on to build more homes in Stockport. The town centre will be growing again over the next few years, with more people living here, not just working or visiting. So, the onus is on the council to get this expansion plan right, sharing the vision of what’s being worked towards during this crucial transition time, a time when we as local businesses and residents can still have our say and feel valued.
Plans were recently approved for road access changes in town, on St Petersgate, the bridge over the Underbanks, around Market Place, Churchgate, Great and Little Underbanks and Lower Hillgate.
The scheme will be funded by the Governments Active Travel Fund, and once that’s approved the road changes and closures will enter an experimental phase, before any final plans are set in stone, bollards and planters. This is where we as businesses, residents, the council and local councillors must engage.
Who knows how to affect Googles algorithm, but we still can have a voice for Stockport and see if our own personal visions of Stockport’s future can indeed come true. When’s rainbow season?